Monday, June 25, 2012

Travis Wood pitches the Cubs to a 6-1 win against the Mets; The Anthony Rizzo era is about to begin

The Cubs won 6-1 over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field tonight.  Travis Wood started for the Cubs and pitched seven shutout innings and allowed five hits, one walk, and threw six strikeouts on 93 pitches.  Wood had excellent command of his pitches and led his team to a win.

Travis Wood pitched seven shutout innings against the Mets (photo from
Joe Mather got the Cubs on the board with a hard-hit two-run homer in the fourth inning.  The Cubs then scored four runs in the seventh inning when the Mets made three errors.  Shawn Camp pitched in relief in a scoreless eighth inning, but the Cubs were one out from a shutout in the ninth inning when Ike Davis hit a solo home run off of James Russell.

Joe Mather is congratulated by Geovany Soto after his 2-run homer against the Mets (photo from
This was definitely one of the more fun games to watch this season!  Go Cubs Go!

The other big news of today - It's official:  Anthony Rizzo is on his way to Chicago and will start in Tuesday night's game against the New York Mets. 

Rizzo was hitting .345 with 23 homers and 62 RBI in 69 games at Iowa.  After his second at-bat during the Iowa Cubs' game against Round Rock today, he was told he had been promoted to Chicago.  “I had no idea before the game,” Rizzo said.  “After that at-bat, I figured something was up because (manager Dave Bialas) usually comes out to get the helmet of whoever makes the final out.  He didn’t do it that time.  He told me to come on in.  That’s when he told me I was going to Chicago.”

Regarding Cubs fans, Rizzo said, “I want to tell them that there’s going to be good times, and there will there be bad times.  Hopefully there will be times I’m a hero, and there will be times that I’m the villain.  That’s the nature of the game, and that goes for every baseball player.”

Anthony Rizzo (shown here during Cubs' spring training) will make his Cubs debut Tuesday against the Mets (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said that Rizzo "has got to understand he's not a savior of this offense right now.  I think that's what he's got to be careful of.  If he comes up here and tries to save a struggling offense...he can't do it with one swing of the bat.  It'd be nice if he did."

Sveum said he'll probably bat Rizzo third or fourth in the lineup "so somebody can hit behind him."  Bryan LaHair, who has been playing the most at first base, will play in the outfield almost exclusively, and Rizzo will play first base "most of the time", according to Sveum.

“You’re going to play in front of the greatest fans in baseball,” former teammate Chris Volstad told Rizzo in the clubhouse during the Iowa Cubs’ game against Round Rock.  “You’ll do great.”

Well, this sure is exciting news and gives Cubs fans something to be pumped about, since the Cubs currently have the worst record in the Majors.  After tonight's game, Adrian Cardenas has been optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Rizzo on the 25-man roster.  Rizzo will wear number 44 for the Cubs.

In other Cubs news, former Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Michael Bowden was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for an estrogen-blocking drug, tamoxifen, which is used to minimize side effects typical in steroid use and is one of 200 substances on the banned list, but is not a performance-enhancing drug.

Former Cub Marlon Byrd has been placed on the restricted list and suspended for 50 games (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Via the players' union, Byrd released the following statement:  "I made an inexcusable mistake. Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball.  Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test.  Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons.  I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do.  I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a club win later this season."  Byrd had been released by the Red Sox and was playing at the minor league level.

Tomorrow is the big game at 7:05pm where Anthony Rizzo will make his debut.  Randy Wells will start for the Cubs in place of Ryan Dempster (who is on the disabled list for a tight right lat) and try for his second win of the season.

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